Fitter, Happier

Democracy should spread on its own accord, by choice. But I guess President Bush made it clear in the 2000 elections individual choice — votes — a democracy do not make.

Sound familiar? I wrote that sentence exactly four years ago today, in the hours just subsequent to Rumsfeld’s beloved “shock and awe.” The post concluded:

And so, here we go. Godspeed the 19-year-olds in harms way. And God bless the 24 million Iraqis soon to feel the might of our “liberation.”

Four years later, The Washington Post reports that, while statistics are fleeting, some numbers are certain: 3,197 U.S. military deaths, 38,661 Iraqi military deaths, at least 60,000 civilian deaths.

To date, the Iraq war has cost U.S. tax payers nearly $500 billion (with a “b”).

Meanwhile, in America, life goes on. I wrote the following on March 19, 2003, but I have a hunch that — “surgical strike” and timeline notwithstanding — I could write the same sentence tonight after work.

Moments after MTV News leadership sent most of the teams home, what is now being refered to as the “surgical strike” began. I was tipped off by the VP of the department running down the hall top speed yelling into the newsroom “Something’s happening.” We were live on air within 15 minutes, and stayed live for just under two hours until 11:30. After putting the website to bed, I walked home, logged on for one last check, and went to bed around 2. I was up at 8, and back into work by 9, where we had just enough time to meet and post-mortem Wednesday night’s live coverage before the next volley began, and we raced down into the studio again. We were on the air for almost three hours, until 3:45, then again at 7.

Adrenaline not withstanding, the whole thing feels quite sad. The sound of those first cruise missiles exploding was chilling. I imagine being there, in that city of 6 million, finally having fallen to sleep as dawn approached, and being jarred by that sound, that un-Godly thunder. It’s so grave. So frightening. So real.

Yet, as I walked home from work tonight just after 10, two days into this thing, this Life During Wartime, folks were leaving the theatre and stumbling drunk through the rain like any other Thursday night. What gives? Are we making TV and websites for others in the media? Does no one else care?

So, congratulations, America. Or, Happy Anniversary. Or, Rest In Peace.

And I’m really sorry.

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